I love summer. I adore the warm weather and slower pace of life. But I have to be honest here. Sometimes I have a little trouble transitioning from “Teacher Alison” to “Summer Alison.”
At the end of the school year, I always start getting excited for next year. It sounds a little weird, but I bet you do it too! I start dreaming about all the things I want to change next year, and all the things I want to “do better.” But then summer arrives, and I’m torn between wanting to plan for next year and wanting to relax.
In the end, relaxing always wins out – as I think it should! I purposefully turn my “teacher brain” off until mid July. In fact, I actually schedule a date for myself when I’m allowed to turn my teacher brain back on! After that date, I allow myself to do more heavy duty planning and preparation for the next school year.
Until that date, I’m pretty strict with myself about not spending time planning. I do some browsing and collecting on my Pinterest account. I read some professional development books. But I don’t touch the hard-core, concrete planning until my magic date. This helps me more fully enjoy my summer.
So what do I do with all those ideas about next year that are buzzing around in my head? I write them down. In one place. Just in case I lose track of my millions of sticky notes while my teacher brain is turned off. 🙂
I like to use a “Start, Stop, Continue” framework for recording my ideas for the following school year. I write down my new ideas for next year under “Start,” the activities or routines I want to get rid of under “Stop,” and the things that went extremely well this year under “Continue.” I keep this sheet out on my desk at school at all times, starting in April. As soon as I have an idea, I write it down so that I won’t worry about forgetting it later! If you want to use this strategy, click on either of the images below to download the sheets. The one on the left is geared toward classroom teachers, and the one on the right is intended for reading specialists (like me!).
Writing down your ideas and then turning off your teacher brain for the summer will give you such peace of mind! Even if you can’t put off planning until mid July like I do, at least give yourself a couple of weeks of dedicated relaxation.
For even MORE peace of mind this summer, check out my reading and writing units for K-2. The lessons and accompanying materials are very clearly laid out for you. They will significantly cut down on your planning time, and you will start the school year much less frazzled! You can purchase the units bundled or just try out one unit at a time.
Enjoy your last few weeks with your kiddos!